Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned – sin was indeed in the world before the law, but sin is not reckoned when there is no law.” (Romans 5:12 – 13)

There are some writings by Paul that cannot be easily explained, nor explained verse by verse. Sometimes you just have to take the whole entire of it (meaning the passage) and sort out the meaning by the broad strokes.

According to Paul, sin came into the world through the actions of Adam and Eve – see the Old Testament passage yesterday. The Lord God said that by of the tree of good and evil Adam and Eve would die. Well, Paul takes that idea and runs with it. I have a different perspective but . . . well, we are not hear to discuss my theological beliefs . . . . today at least.

“Yet death exercised dominion from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sins were not like the transgression of Adam, who is a type of the one who was to come. But the free gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died through the one man’s trespass, much more surely have the grace of God and the free gift in the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded for the many. And the free gift is not like the effect of the one man’s sin. For the judgment following one trespass brought condemnation, but the free gift following many trespasses brings justification.” (Verses 14 – 16)

The “free gift” is the gift of grace/mercy/forgiveness/salvation/redemption – to lump it all together. And really, to borrow some of Paul’s reasoning, if the sin of Adam had not been committed, the gift of grace would not need to have come to us. If one keeps their wits about them, and remembers the touchstones of Paul’s theology – it is possible to wend your way through the passage. It helps to remember that Paul is sort of repeating himself . . . for emphasis.

“If, because of the one man’s trespass, death exercised dominion through that one, much more surely will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness exercise dominion in life through the one man, Jesus Christ. Therefore just as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to justification and life for all.” (Verses 17 – 18)

And to remember that while Paul may call Jesus Christ a “man”, Paul is well away that it is the Divine nature of Jesus Christ who made him the Messiah that we need.

“For just as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.” (Verse 19)

And finally, that Paul’s theology was one of the nudges that lead the church to set up the concept and practice of Lent. That believers must prepare themselves and take time to reflect and consider the suffering and “passion” of Jesus Christ that leads up to and unfolds during Holy Week culminating in Easter Sunday.

Now that you have “run the gauntlet” of the Old Testament and Epistle passage, take time to reflect. We move next to Ash Wednesday, the gateway to Lent and all that will be considered and pondered this Lenten Season. Shalom!